Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Deep thought for the day

Our little Danny bears a resemblence to Susanne’s mom especially across his eyes. (Let's just say that some times he gives me these looks that REALLY remind me of how my mother-in-law looks at me ;-) It's all good by the way.

But anyway, since we have a toddler age photo of Danny’s biological male donor in our possession, we can see some similarities between the two of them in terms of coloring etc…but clearly Danny definitely has a good bit of Su’s look in him and, again, Su’s mom’s eyes.

Which leads me to my deep thought. If through the generations, babies are born with such strong similarities to biological family members, does that mean that 50, 100, 500 years or more ago, there were people walking the face of this earth who looked pretty much just like we do now? (Or I guess I should say that we look just like them now?)

Their lives would have been so incredibly different, but their faces must have been so, so similar to what we see when we spot our own reflections in the mirror. That’s kind of cool.

Once while visiting Ireland I saw a man on a street in Dublin who made me stop in my tracks. He was the SPITTING IMAGE of my brother Paul. Same, build, same gait, same mannerisms, same hair, everything. It was only when I got closer to him and heard him speak that I could shake the feeling that Paul had not somehow come to surprise me (that was actually not even close to possible, but I still was in a complete state of incredulousness I couldn't rule it out.) So, since my biological family's lineage is from Ireland perhaps this guy was a long lost relative? Who knows?

I guess I just wonder if one day long ago in Germany or Estonia, where Su’s family is from, a little boy who was Danny’s spitting image sat by a fire and clapped his hands the same way Danny Boy does now, and melted everyone’s hearts with his antics.

And will one day, generations from now, some other lucky parents get to raise a child who will carry on the magic that is Danny? Deep, deep thought.

P.S. This is just a random photo from internet of relatives showing off a family resemblance.
P.P.S. Where in the heck do you think that the phrase "spitting image" came from?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Note to self: It's not an inhaler

As Susanne once aptly put it, our roles in terms of caring for Danny can be boiled down to this basic generalization; she's in charge of what goes into him, and I'm in charge of what comes out. This means she plans for, does most of the shopping for and cooks almost everything he eats. All I have to do is monitor the diaper situation and keep him high and dry. Sounds like I got the easy part right?

Well that would be true, if only I didn't keep forgetting that now that he's almost completely weaned and eating regular food, he doesn't really smell like a rose anymore (if you get what I'm saying.)

But for some reason whenever I think it's time to take a whiff to ascertain whether he needs a new diaper, I always hold him up and inhale way too deeply. "Ah yes--his bum is not an inhaler. (And truth be told, I could probably tell by just holding him up an arms length from my face.)

As you'll probably agree, there is no compelling need to add a photo to this particular post ;-)

Have a great day everybody! -M

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do foul balls hurt moms? I think I see one coming now...

Hello dear readers. I just realized that I conveniently forgot to mention that Danny's winning streak with the Washington Nationals came to a sad end a week or two ago when we went to our first game in the new stadium. The Nats were trounced 10-1 on a cold and dismal afternoon but Danny had a great time.

Except when the crowd roared.

Which happened every time a big play happened.

The National's one run would have been manageable, but all those Atlanta home runs etc... made the crowd go wild. Which made Danny screw up his little face and cry. Fortunately we were very close to a concourse and could step into a quiet space with him pretty easily. I try to think back to when I was a kid if the change from quiet to sudden applause or loud sounds would scare me. I guess I can't really remember. He'll get used to this as time goes by. What if we all burst out crying whenever a crowd applauded? That would be something to see huh?

We have another game on Friday night and can't wait. It's too bad that the start times for the evening games are so late though. 7:30 is not that far away from his usual bedtime so we're guessing that we won't make it to the end or we'll find a relatively quiet place where he'll sleep on one of us. The commute is great though. One block from the stadium we catch a train that brings us right near our house without having to change again. Very cool.

Doesn't he look so grow up? And keeping an eye out for us too. You're still our charm little man! -Monica

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Greetings all. I was just thinking this morning about the word "endearing". Why you may ask? Well, because of course my little lamb went and endeared himself to me--again.

We were just rocking in the chair near his crib having his first snack of the day when he very sleepily began to hold the bottle (which he loves to do). But then he changed his mind and instead held my finger tightly but gently, the whole time. He only does this when he's really sleepy and every time it makes me melt. It feels like he's saying "don't even think about going anywhere--you're with me!"

An endearing dear indeed! Love you baby! -Mommy Monica

Monday, April 21, 2008

BFF Ginni (Best Folder Forever)

I like to believe I’m an organized and efficient person who, at all times, can lay my hands on important documents, e-mails and project plans. I’ve even got a credential that says that I’m a Project Management Professional, which again, should mean that I’m VERY organized. So…it’s with a bit of embarrassment that I would like to introduce you to an e-mail folder named Ginni.

You see I had a very nice boss a few years ago (yes, Ginni) who has since retired. Back in the day, Ginni cc’d me on so much stuff that I decided to just name one folder Ginni and dump all those e-mails in there.

You’d think that with her long ago retirement that the Ginni folder would be retired too, but no. That folder—the “Ginni” Folder—has stayed, and in fact, in an odd way, has become one of my closest friends. Whenever I’m uncertain as to what to do when purging my inbox I find that I automatically move things into the “Ginni” Folder. I’m pretty sure that this is NOT a best practice.

Ironically I still get e-mails from Ginni once in a while. And where do you think I file them? That’s right. In my “Personal” Folder. That is irony right? -Monica

Soggy yet fun weekend!

Wow, did we get some rain this weekend here in DC. In fact, it's still sort of coming down for the third straight day. It's always nice to get rain, but maybe in smaller doses?

This weekend Danny had a wonderful time at little Bailey's first birthday party! He got a little scared of the roar of tons of singing and clapping friends and relatives singing happy birthday (especially Karen's cool version) but Bailey loved it. She dug into her cake and although I don't have pictures to post yet, she sort of waved her cake blanketed hand at the crowd with a look that said "talk to the hand people!" It was all very fun and M&K you threw a great party--your Bailey is a riot.

Then on Sunday we had a fun lunch at Panera's with a woman who we've gotten to know via the blogosphere. We knew Renee lived somewhere in the DC area so we had written back and forth a few times and decided to grab lunch somewhere in between our two cities. It was really interesting to meet someone who in many respects is a stranger but through blogging we seemed to already know so much about each other's lives. Danny really enjoyed meeting Renee as she was happy to share her bread which really made him smile (all six teeth worth). It turns out that Su and Renee both knew some people in common because when Su did her social work practicu a few years ago, it was at a place that Renee is now connected to. Small world huh?

Oh, and I've decided I have to get back on weight watchers because Renee inspired me! I'd lost 18 pounds about a year ago (and unfortunatlely found it again) but Renee had far more success and shared a "before" picture that was amazing. So Renee, thanks for inspring me. And all three of us hope that the weeks and months to come for you will be postive and wonderful. We look forward to seeing you again too.

Alrighty then. I guess I'd best get back to that thing they pay me for. Right. My job. Have a great day everybody! -Monica

Friday, April 18, 2008


As you can see, Danny simply consumes books. Some might say he's got a ravenous appetite for the written word. Here he enjoys a children's book written in German which translates to "Hello Dear Polar bear!"

I wonder if when he stops teething he'll be into reading them instead of just eating them? We can always hope!

Have a great weekend everybody! -Monica

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A blink of an eye...

Greetings all. I just returned from a short business trip that ran from Sunday until Wednesday, and I have to tell you--my little baby just morphed from a "curious, tentative little scoocher" into a "full steam ahead crawling MACHINE". He's got the cutest little "crab" shuffle (I promise I'll post pictures soon) and he literally zooms from room to room with no fear whatsover. (Thank you Susanne for being in charge of everything for so long. I promise I'll make it up to you!)

Anyway, yesterday he discovered the wire to a speaker that ran under our living room radiator. It no longer does (we made that change happen, not him.) He later found a power cord in the dining room wall which he decided was quite useful to start pulling himself up. We also put a stop to that fun.

Ah yes...cat food. Maybe we should invent kibbles for babies? I don't believe he's actually gotten a taste of that yummy IAMS yet, but he's working on it. Sheessshhh. I was gone three day. Just three days.

There are other changes too. Not one, not two, not three, but four little white teeth popping out of his upper gums. And when you hold him in your arms to give him a bottle instead of snuggling in, he will lull you into a relaxed state and then without a moments notice decide it's time to show off his abs of steel. He executes a perfect 90 degree sit up that you never saw coming. This does not lend itself to settling down for nap nap nor night night time.

So...it may sound like I find all of this distressing? Well, I will admit on some level I'm anxious that he will get hurt. That no matter how well we childproof and do all the right things he'll get hurt. And I remind myself that we all fall down when we are learning.

Then I think about how much more careful we must be from now on. No more rubber bands from the newpapers or twisty ties that the cats love to play with laying around. Then I remind myself that we can do this. We must do this.

We're teaching him as best you can teach a 10 month old. And we're making the safest environment we can. Another thing of course we want to do is keep him safe from the sun. So while on travel I picked up a little boys sun hat for him. We put it on him this morning and I kept thinking he reminded me of someone. Hmmmmm...who....????

Oh God. He looked a little bit like Blossom. Ummm...nothing against Blossom, but I think we'll stick with baseball caps for Danny from now on ;-) Have a great day everybody. Can't wait to go home and play defense! -Monica

Monday, April 14, 2008

Careful is as careful does...

Has this ever happened to you? The baby has finally gone to sleep and for some crazy reason you decide that you simply must tidy up his little play area before turning in.

And no matter how careful you try to be, it is inevitable that you will accidentally nudge a toy. One of THOSE toys. The ones that sing or dance or spout annoying sounds.

So you don't mean to, but you end up dramatically throwing your body over the evildoer like it's a live grenade or something. And this of course makes ALL of the toys activate simultaneously.

Danny loves that!!!! :-(


Friday, April 11, 2008

A shout out to Erin's Mom (hi Joan!)

My dear friend Erin was in town this week with her beautiful 18 month old daughter, and as soon as I download some photos I'll show our clever tykes getting along oh so well in "Dannyland" (that's what we call the area of our living room that has the alphabet mat.)

Anyway, Joan, I know you've always loved keeping up with the exploits of little Danny via our blog but I understand that things are getting a little tougher for you now as your illness seems to be progressing. So, three things.

1. We are so glad to hear that you and Erin's dad have moved back to the area and are closer to family.

2. You have the most wonderful children and grandchildren, and if they'd a had blogs back when you were raising those kids I would have stolen every nugget of wisdom you'd have written. Great job!

3. Danny would love to come visit you when you are feeling better and it looks like Erin will help coordinate that at some point. We find he's very theraputic for all that ails ya. (Isn't that true for all little kids?)

Alrighty then. Here's a picture of him from a few weeks ago keeping an eye on me, just like I know everyone in your family is keeping an eye on you. Just to clarify, we werent driving, just waiting in the car for a while. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend okay? Hope to see you soon. -Monica (and Susanne and Danny)

Self-fulfilling prophesy?

Hello there friends and family. I just got to thinking today about how there are some blogs in the blogosphere that have the most depressing names. I can't even write any of them here because I wouldn't want to offend anyone, but maybe someone out there knows what I'm talking about?

It makes me think about the concepts of feng shui--you know, trying to bring good energy, or at the very least, unblocking the paths for existing positive energy to flow.

I of course realize that my interpretation of what constitutes a negative name is all relative. I read a bunch of books on feng shui once and was intrigued about the idea that you can sort of "will" what you are looking for into your life. Often the person writing the book would diagnose someone's living space and see pictures of desolte, lonely people on the walls when they wanted so much to meet that special someone. You know, stuff like that.

So anyway, that's just my thought for the day. Until next time. -Monica

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Odd as it may seem, even though I just blogged yesterday about it being my dad's birthday, today is actually my mom's special day. Fortunately she is alive and well and living in MN, so I don't have any eulogy to share. Whew. But maybe we should hear more praise when we are alive. So, okay mom, here are a few words I'm going to throw out there to describe you. Loving, beautiful, funny, clever, open-minded and...what's that word?...wonderful. But I am biased as you know. Mom, I hope you have a lovely, fabulous birthday today. We love you.

But speaking of moms and dads, I must share that our 10 month old son, the child of two lesbian women, has decided that his first and loudest sounds will be a repetition of "DA DA DA DA DA DA!" I was telling Susanne that it almost makes me wish I were his dad. He'd so clearly be calling for me all the time!

We keep trying to get him to say "MA MA MA MA MA MA" which we know he can do, but he prefers DADA.

It's okay. He seems to know that Susanne is mama--at least he looks at her when we ask (in English or German) "where's mama?". I'm mommy, but mostly Su and I just call each other "mom" around him. This works fine until people sometimes hear Su say something like "mom, can you get me a diaper" or something like that and people assume that I'm Su's mom. Yes, I'm older. Yes, I have more gray hair. And yes, it doesn't dawn on everybody that we are a couple so they are just trying to make sense of what they are observing. (Two women who clearly adore this cutie pie shopping, traveling, whatever with him.)

But I'm not bitter about this. Well, I might be a little bitter because I don't assume I'll look younger over time. Okay, I'm over it. Not bitter anymore. Well maybe a teeny bit bitter...

Alrighty then. Back to the daily grind. Why does saying that always make me want to go get a cup of coffee???? Not too bitter of course ;-) -Monica

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

For Dad

Today is April 8, 2008. This would have been my dad’s 78th birthday, but in 2002 he passed away from cancer after surviving for about 7 years after his initial diagnosis. Oh how we still miss him. (And I'll always regret that he died before I even knew Susanne so they never got to meet.)

He was goofy and silly and loving and smart. I thought that today in honor of dad I’d include a part of the eulogy I shared at his burial mass…

Good morning everyone. On behalf of my mom, brothers, sisters, nieces and grand nieces I’d like to thank you all very much for coming here today to honor our dad’s life….

…I want to share with you a few things that dad literally carried with him most of the days of his life, because if you want to know what someone really values or treasures, you don’t really need to look much farther than that.

Like most of us, dad carried his keys. For him they symbolized something wonderful. Home. He loved the fact that he owned a place where he could raise seven kids and he also really loved to just putter about from room to room, to the porch, the basement—wherever. He definitely treasured his home and his ability to provide for us. He took special care in these last few years to make sure that mom would be financially OK. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

When we looked in dad’s wallet last week we saw that he carried with him two pictures. They were of the littlest among us—his 4 ½ year old granddaughter Janna and his almost two year old great-granddaughter Cassie. Dad, (and mom I might add) loved babies. I suspect that over the years pictures of all of us lived in that wallet, because dad treasured all of us--his children, grandchildren and his lovely “great”. It was always so comforting to know this.

Dad’s wallet contained a library card. As a kid in Boston he was allowed to check out 4 books at a time and all of his life he held on to that behavior. He really taught us all a life-long love of reading I remember thinking once when I went to the library with him that he must have already read everything there at least once. That was Poppi. Sitting at the dining room table, drinking his omnipresent cup of coffee and going “ah huh” to any and all questions including “hey dad, can I have a million dollars?”

The last item I’ll mention the wedding ring that mom put on his finger back on September 15, 1956. It was a simple gold band—simple like dad, and he was rightly proud of the fact that he never took it off. Simply put, Poppi always felt like he was the luckiest man in the world because as dad would say “the beautiful Mary Ellen” married him. If you know our mom, you’ll understand why he thought that…

…I’ll end by saying that I recently figured out that dad’s greatest gift was the ability to interact with all of us in a completely different way, and so for each of us he loved us equally but specially. Not everyone has this gift. During his last week of life he found a special way to say goodbye to each of us…

I won’t share the rest of the eulogy in this blog post, but I guess I just felt compelled to honor my dad today. God bless you Poppi. We still miss you. Love, Monica

Monday, April 07, 2008


I know I put that boy down somewhere? Hmmmm...there's the cat...oh, hello Danny Boy!

Note to self: (Maybe we need to dress him in solids more often? Or maybe I need to go see the eye doctor ;-) -Monica

Friday, April 04, 2008

Key word fun

Happy Friday everyone. As you may have noticed, there is a little icon on the lower right side of our blog page called a "Stat Counter" . It's a free add on that Susanne put on our site when we first started it, and it's pretty fun to check out once in a while. We can see all kinds of stuff--how many people visited our blog, info on where they came from, IP addresses, etc...

It's often fun to guess stuff like "look, Vermont! Must be Raquel." Or, "look honey, a visitor from Australia. Do you think it's Kitze and Priya? Or maybe Lisa E?" You know stuff like that.

But another thing you can check out is the "key words" that people put in to a search engine that land them on your blog page.

Just for fun I took a peek at that statistic today and was interested to learn that yesterday two strangers, one from the Ukraine and one from Fort Meyers, Florida landed on our site because they put in respectively the following key words - "sclera therapy" and "spiderlike veins."

You see back on July 25th I'd written this post on going to see my dermatologist about some spider veins. How could I have ever known that the post would lead so many to our site? Why do I find this all mildly depressing?

I'll have to insert some more interesting words in to future posts. Can't think of any just yet.

But speaking of words, I once heard Alan Alda being interviewed on the radio and he told a story about when he was Hawkey Peirce on MASH on the '70s the writers tried to insert the word "virgin" into a script and the censors made them take it out. He thought it was rediculous as did the script writers. So on the very next show they sneaked this line in for him...

"We've got a young seargent here whose got some injuries. Says on his paperwork he's from the Virgin Islands."

Ha ha. You gotta agree that's pretty funny right? Have a good weekend everybody. -Monica

P.S. If you hover over the number on our stat counter and click it takes you to the stat counter site where you can figure out how to add one to your own blog if you want. It's fun!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

In my mind’s eye

This morning at about 8:15 a woman walking across a busy street in DC was struck by a Metro bus. I can only imagine that she was just hurrying along to work—maybe worried that she was running late, and just pretty preoccupied. I guess I'll never know.

I was sitting on the bus that hit her. I had my head buried in a mindless novel, and I was running a little late for work myself is what I remember.

We’d just entered an intersection on busy K street—heading straight, and I remember feeling more than hearing some screeching, then a bump and the bus driver who was about 2 feet away from me screaming “oh my God!”

Having been a first aid trainer for many years, I turned to see what I could and was already dialing 911. A large crowd had gathered around the woman to help--she was conscious and crying. She insisted on crawling to the curb even though everyone tried to tell her to lie still, but she was pretty distressed and determined.

I told her my name, that I was trained in first aid and that help was on the way. This made her sob even more as she kept saying that she didn’t have the money to pay for an ambulance. We all tried to comfort her and tell her not to think a thing about that.

I asked her if there was anyone she wanted me to call and she gave me the number of her employer. I called and explained what was happening and they were of course very concerned. That seemed to make the poor woman feel somewhat better but the longer we sat, clearly everything was hurting her more especially her shoulder and side. As we waited, someone asked if there was anyone else we should call and she just so sadly said “I don’t have anybody”. Several of us assured her that we'd wait with her and that she was not alone.

The ambulance arrived about 5 minutes later and the crowd dispersed. As I walked the rest of the way to work, I called Susanne and, although I think I'd been pretty stoic up til then and didn't mean to, I just cried and cried while telling her all about it.

In retrospect I cried about a health care system where this poor woman who’d just been HIT BY A BUS, was more worried about how she’d pay for the bills when they came than about her injuries. I cried for the driver who was herself so shaken. I don’t know whose fault the accident was. I didn’t really see it. But regardless, hitting another human being has to be just awful.

I cried for the fact that she said “I don’t have anybody”. I know that I’m always so grateful for Susanne, but never more than when I remember all the years before we met that I would have probably said the same thing.

And I cried for her. Her pain. Her fear. What lies ahead. Because even though she was conscious, she was indeed injured.

The phrase “in my mind’s eye” means “one’s visual imagination or memory”. Those who know me well know that I was at the scene of a horrific bus accident in Honduras in 1989, where many people died or were critically injured that day, and me and my friends David S. and David D. did what we could to pull people out. There was no 911 on the way that day in that place. So what I witnessed today can't really compare. But it sure did open my mind’s eye. I pray that I can close it again. Soon.

And I hope that the young woman who was hit today and the bus driver come through this without too much damage. Please.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Presenting Alice and Ralph Cramden

Okay, it's not really the cast of the Honeymooners, but it will be fun to see how these two adorable neighbors will get along, say, 15 years from now! -Monica

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The charm continues...

On Saturday night the Nationals beat the Orioles in an exhibition game 3-0 and the very next day beat the Atlanta Braves at the big home opener 3-2 that was televised on national TV. That's pretty exciting stuff.

As you may recall, Danny is the Nationals lucky charm, and, it appears his powers are even greater than we thought. You see, he brought them luck while resting comfortably with our neighbors Melissa and Norman and their girls on Saturday night.

You see our poor boy started running a temp on Saturday morning (we have strong suspicions that teething is to blame.) Anyway, there was no way in heck we were going to bring him out to a night game with temps in the 40s. We were all set to not go to the game, or to figure out a way for one of us to stay home while the other invited a friend, but our lovely neighbors nixed that planning by graciously offering to keep Danny for a few hours. It was perfect. A great (if not freezing) win by the Nationals in their gorgeous new home, and then upon our return, a relaxing hour drinking wine and shooting the breeze with M&N while all the babies slept soundly upstairs.

Danny started to feel better Monday night and we are all excited for the weather to get warmer and for Danny to see the new stadium soon. Go Nats! -Monica

I fight technology - technology always wins

(Please hum the title above to the tune of "I fight authority, authority always wins" as you continue reading)

Password5 (must have between 6-8 characters--this has 9)

psword5 (must have a capital letter and symbol)

Password#5 (what part did you not understand about needing it to be between 6-8 characters?)

Asswo#5 (this might actually work.)

“We’re sorry. That password is taken. Please select another.”

How's this for a password?

Or better yet. About a month after you finally select and remember a password you get this message,

“Your password has expired. Please create new password.”